Leonard Gardner’s Fat City is Rocky, stripped of all its romance and inspiration. Boxers in depression era Northern California, Ernie Munger, at the beginning of his career, and Billy Tully, at the end of his struggle with booze, women, money, and the misguided belief that if they keep fighting things just might change. There is no big fight, though, no moral victory and life-changing payday waiting around the corner. Their common thread is mutual trainer Ruben, who tries to hold together their lives and psyches but fails at every step in the face of their self-destructive natures and resentment of authority. An old-fashioned hardboiled novel full of desperation and pain, and teeming with life, this forgotten American masterpiece feels just as fresh and important as it did when originally published in the 60’s.— Danny
Originally published in 1969, Fat City is an American classic whose stature has increased over the years. Made into an acclaimed film by John Huston, the book is set in and around Stockton, California.
About the Author
Leonard Gardner was born in Stockton. His writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Esquire, Southwest Review, and other magazines. His screen adaptation of Fat City was made into a film by John Huston. A Guggenheim Fellow, he lives in northern California.